Puma Moth World Championship
Thierry Martinez / www.thmartinez.com
Puma Moth World Championship

Payne extends

The Brad Funk threat dissolves slightly going into the final day of the Puma Moth World Championship

Saturday March 13th 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Arab Emirates

While, of course, there are still races left to sail and anything could happen, after the penultimate day of the Puma Moth World Championship off Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, Britain’s Simon Payne is looking well placed to reclaim his title - leading with a nine point cushion over US Olympic Laser sailor Brad Funk, and a fifth place discard up his sleeve in reserve.

He may not have won a race today, but Payne scored the next best – a string of three seconds. And yet once ashore, ever the perfectionist, he was still beating himself up about it: “I only sailed 6/10 today. Thank Christ there was a general recall, because I was dead and buried.

“I lost the lead twice. The race officer was rightly starting when there was maximum breeze, but then the wind would pretty much die throughout the race. I was okay when the breeze was up at the start, but as it died...and Brad [Funk] with his North rig is quick, I am on a little flat sail because I’m only small...I really struggled there. But I also misjudged my starboard layline. I was so worried about getting stuck out on a corner and just dying out there because consistency will be important at this event.”

This cost Payne the second race when Andrew McDougall was more conservative with his starboard layline call into the top mark and was able to foil in as Payne floundered lowriding. It was also the exact same scenario in the third race when Brad Funk was also able to overhaul him approaching the weather mark.

So with the regatta running out of races and Payne leading – was this affecting how he sailed today? “I was risky on the starts and the first beat and I knew that if I was at the windward mark [in a good position] it was ‘don’t do anything stupid’. There are people racking up big numbers. I knew boat for boat I couldn’t outdrag Brad in the very light winds.”

Three races were held today after yet another delay ashore and when the wind did fill in - as with every other day at this regatta - it topped out at around 9 knots, but was typically lighter providing yet more arduous on-the-verge-of-foiling conditions for the 43 competitors. “It wasn’t difficult on direction, but it was in pressure,” said Payne of the conditions. “A couple of times I tacked on starboard and really struggled with this flat rig to get up on to the foils in 5 knots. So that was a challenge. What I’d really love is 10-12 knots when people are on the foils and sailing fast.” A sentiment wholeheartedly echoed by everyone here.

Aside from Payne, the star player of the day was once again Fort Lauderdale's coolest, Brad Funk, who added another two bullets to his scoreline, and would have ended the day a serious threat to Payne's lead had he not bombed in race two today when he finished 13th.

“I miscalculated the start and had to go below people to get through them,” admitted Funk of today’s gruesome race. “At the top mark I was 15th or deeper than that. Then I managed to catch up to seventh by the second leeward mark. There I risked asking for room on Arnaud [Psarofaghis] and he first said ‘no’, but then he dove low so I wasn’t sure if he was going to let me in. So I snaked high and then low to slow down so that he could get ahead of me and break the overlap and then let him go. Then going around the leeward mark he started to turn faster than me and I didn’t get my weight outboard enough to windward and I didn’t want to hit him, so I just sent it to windward and my leeward wing hit the water and I came off the foils and seven boats just went right around me. I ended up losing 200m, easy, in order to get back on the foils. It is not quick being off the foils...”

Aside from this horror show, Funk won race one and three today mainly by getting good starts. Having learned his lesson yesterday when he found himself caught up in congestion (typically in 'marginal conditions' there is a big pile up of lowriders down at the pin), Funk's approach today was to lurk to the right of the committee boat and then do a timed run into the boat end of the line on foils and at pace. “When it is light marginal I am learning that staying on the foils and just getting off the line, even if you are 10 seconds late you are foiling, half the fleet [more in our opinion] isn’t foiling and you are out of the mess and then you just kick away from there. I think that is the way to roll, especially when you are a little bit on the heavier side.” (Which he isn’t).

In the first race Funk hit the left hard, was allowed a clear lane all the way and led from then on. In the third, as mentioned, he was able to overhaul Simon Payne by making a better call on the starboard layline into the top mark for the final time. “That as the only opportunity I was going to have to pass him and I went an extra 20 seconds and tacked. He didn’t make layline and I made it just barely and the race was over from there.” In the second race Andrew McDougall said he went just another 20m on from Payne and after a neat foil-born tack was able to lay and take the lead.

Picking laylines in foiling Moths seems to be a big issue, particularly in marginal foiling conditions such as we had today and indeed mostly all week. As Brad Funk puts it: “It’s incredible. Just two knots of wind more and the angles get so much narrower. In this light marginal stuff it gets so light you are bearly going downwind and foiling.”

AMac agrees: “Race craft on the laylines is really tricky and it changes so dramatically as the pressure goes up and down. Staying on the foils was a big factor and I guess a lot of that is picking laylines so that you don’t have to tack.” So much so that some competitors have been starting on port simply because it means one less tack.

Elsewhere in the fleet Hyde Sails boss Mike Lennon had a good day posting two thirds in today’s last two races and there were some other new faces getting their first top ten results – Australian Rob Gough, who came fourth in today’s second race and American Zach Maxim who was fifth in that same race. Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bora Gulari and Chris Graham had days they’re rather forget.

The Puma Moth World Championship concludes tomorrow with two races, one scheduled and the other being yesterday’s cancelled third race. In theory proceedings are supposed to get going at 1100, but if previous days this week are anything to go by, this is most unlikely...

Results

Pos Helm Nat R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 Tot
1 Simon Payne UK 5 2 1 41 3 4 3 1 3 2 2 2 23
2 Brad Funk USA 3 11 10 1 1 3 2 5 5 1 13 1 32
3 Andrew McDougall AUS 1 1 11 2 13 8 11 2 1 4 1 4 35
4 Arnaud Psarofaghis SUI 17 9 3 3 2 6 1 3 2 6 17 15 50
5 Dalton Bergan USA 10 20 4 4 4 1 4 8 6 5 7 14 53
6 Michael Lennon GBR 2 8 8 6 8 9 10 7 4 9 3 3 58
7 Scott Babbage AUS 8 4 9 5 10 2 9 6 44 3 8 7 61
8 Bora Gulari USA 12 10 2 7 6 5 5 4 10 7 16 20 68
9 Chris Graham UAE 4 7 7 10 5 7 7 14 7 15 12 6 72
10 Adam May GBR 6 5 6 16 9 14 18 13 15 10 6 9 93
11 Tomaz Copi SVN 7 3 41 11 19 10 19 10 9 14 10 5 98
12 Rob Gough AUS 11 18 12 12 12 12 8 11 14 12 4 11 105
13 George Peet USA 23 14 16 18 17 18 26 9 11 11 9 8 131
14 Ricky Tagg GBR 9 17 15 13 14 11 13 43 19 42 11 10 132
15 Zack Maxam USA 14 15 14 15 16 17 14 12 16 18 5 12 133
16 Mark Robinson SGP 16 23 5 14 11 15 6 15 20 24 14 31 139
17 Jean-Pierre Ziegert SUI 19 16 13 9 7 19 15 17 17 8 19 23 140
18 Mikis Psarofaghis SUI 15 28 20 19 15 16 16 16 8 13 15 18 151
19 Martin Gravare SWE 13 19 44 8 18 13 12 44 21 17 18 28 167
20 Alex Adams GBR 18 24 17 17 21 20 17 18 18 16 20 13 174
21 James Cole AUS 21 6 21 20 25 21 21 19 12 22 22 17 180
22 Alex Buerger UAE 22 12 24 28 23 27 22 22 13 21 23 30 209
23 Tim Penfold   38 42 19 33 20 22 27 20 22 19 21 16 219
24 Marcel Herrera UAE 24 13 26 22 26 23 20 25 24 23 33 24 224
25 Glenn Raphael UAE 35 35 18 21 22 29 25 23 26 20 24 19 227
26 Paul Hayden GBR 20 22 23 24 27 30 29 21 23 28 27 22 237
27 Emma Aspington SWE 29 30 28 27 33 25 23 30 25 44 25 21 263
28 Dougie Imrie GBR 27 26 41 26 31 34 33 29 27 26 30 25 280
29 Kerstin Sommer UAE 28 25 29 30 30 26 28 31 32 27 42 26 280
30 James Phare GBR 26 21 41 23 24 24 24 43 44 42 31 29 285
31 Ben Crocker AUS 32 27 25 29 28 28 31 24 29 32 34 34 285
32 Simon Savage UAE 33 36 22 25 34 31 34 32 30 29 26 35 296
33 Rob Fordyce UAE 30 29 31 35 35 32 32 28 31 31 36 36 314
34 Magnus Gravare SWE 36 33 30 32 29 36 37 27 34 44 28 33 318
35 Dion Houghton HKG 34 32 27 31 36 37 38 43 35 30 32 39 332
36 Lindsey Bergan USA 25 44 44 44 44 44 44 26 28 25 29 27 336
37 Richard Davies UK 39 34 34 37 37 35 35 33 36 34 35 32 345
38 Marc Bruegger UAE 31 37 33 34 39 39 39 36 33 36 39 38 356
39 Per Eskilson SWE 40 42 36 36 38 38 30 35 38 35 38 37 361
40 Philip Kasermann SUI 37 31 32 39 32 33 36 44 44 44 44 44 372
41 Dirk Weiblen CHN 42 38 37 38 41 41 41 34 37 33 37 40 376
42 Jonathan Peats GBR 41 42 35 44 40 40 40 37 39 37 40 41 390
43 Jeroen Leenen UAE 44 44 44 44 43 44 44 43 44 44 44 44 438

Puma Moth World Championship

Puma Moth World Championship

Puma Moth World Championship

Puma Moth World Championship

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